SINGAPORE (Mar 27): China’s retailers are feeling the heat from lockdowns and safe distancing measures as nearly half of consumer-facing companies there lack the cash to survive for another six months. Restaurants and caterers have had it hard with about 60% reportedly not being able to cover labour and rental costs, according to Bloomberg, while entertainment and education operators share a similar fate as they shut their doors indefinitely.

These jitters showed up in China’s retail sales index, which plunged 20.5% y-o-y for January and February 2020 – making this the index’s very first dip. And as retailers brace themselves for a further slowdown, Dasin Retail Trust’s (DRT) newly-appointed CEO Wang Qiu is confident the company can withstand this ‘temporary’ test.

“China’s measures to contain Covid-19 have been effective,” Wang tells The Edge Singapore in a recent phone interview. “It has provided DRT with an opportunity to normalise business levels going forward,” she notes, adding that the trust’s five malls have gone from operating shorter hours in January to resuming their usual hours between end- February and early March. This is because Guangdong province – where DRT’s five malls are located – encounters fewer cases of Covid-19. 

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